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El Paso County moves to fewer COVID-19 restrictions on Friday as details on statewide restrictions are shared

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 10:18 PM MDT|Updated: Apr. 16, 2021 at 7:00 AM MDT
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EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - Changes are coming to El Paso County when it come to COVID-19 restrictions starting Friday.

County leaders announced the new statewide restrictions expected to take effect April 16. County leaders are not adding any additional restrictions on top of what the state is requiring. There are fewer COVID-19 restrictions in place compared to when the dial system was in use.

The governor’s office and the Colorado State Joint Information Center recently announce the dial system is evolving to give more control to local entities.

The statewide mask mandate remains in effect through May 3. The following are statewide restrictions going into effect on Friday, according to a joint release from El Paso County, El Paso County Public Health and the city of Colorado Springs.

Outdoor Events:

- Unseated outdoor events have no restrictions.

- Seated outdoor events that are ticketed and exceed 30,000 square feet must consult with El Paso County Public Health (“EPCPH”) and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (“CDPHE”) on capacity limits and disease mitigation strategies prior to their event.

- Five-Star Certified Businesses and prior approved variances remain in effect.

Indoor Events:

- Indoor events less than 100 people have no restrictions other than the state mask order requirements.

- Indoor events between 100 to 500 people must maintain six-foot distancing between non-vaccinated people and unknown vaccinated people, and comply with the state mask order.

- Indoor events over 500 people must obtain a variance from EPCPH and CDPHE prior to the event and comply with the state mask order.

- Five-star certified businesses and prior approved variances remain in effect.

These restrictions DO NOT apply to the following sectors:

- Places of worship and associated ceremonies;

- Retail services;

- Restaurants that have sit-down dining and do not have unseated areas where 100 or more people could gather (such as dance floors or common gathering areas); and

- School proms and graduations that wish to exceed these thresholds shall be subject to review and approval by local public health agencies in accordance with CDPHE prom and graduation guidance.

For businesses or entities that have questions concerning 5-Star Program, variance requests to exceed 500 people, and outdoor event consultation can be directed to COVIDBusinessRecovery@elpasoco.com.

Statements from county leaders were shared in the release.

“El Paso County Public Health has worked closely with our community throughout this past year, providing persistent education, information and technical guidance, expertise and consultation, and we will continue to work with partners across sectors to offer this same level of support to combat COVID-19,” said El Paso County Public Health Director Susan Wheelan. “We recognize the impact the pandemic has had on our business community, and are cautiously optimistic about the opportunity to expand local capacities and reduce restrictions. To help sustain these efforts and keep our economy open, it is vital that we vaccinate our community as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible, and continue to practice prevention measures.”

“For the health, safety, and vibrancy of our community, we strongly urge everyone to continue to take the disease seriously and make the best personal decisions regarding the vaccine as we reopen,” said El Paso County Board Chair Stan VanderWerf. “Our region’s greatest source of strength and resiliency has been how we have come together as a community throughout our response and recovery. It is our hope that we can continue that tradition as we near the end of the pandemic. We ask all citizens to respect the choices businesses make as they embrace these changes and choose how best to keep themselves and customers safe. Stay safe and stay open.”

“The best and quickest way to recover from this pandemic and return to our ‘normal’ lives, is for as many people as possible to get vaccinated,” said Mayor John Suthers. “We have the supplies and we have the medical professionals at the ready to administer vaccines to all residents 16 and older. It is incumbent upon individuals and businesses to operate and behave at a level that is appropriate for their level of personal risk. We urge vigilance as we relax restrictions, knowing that if hospitalizations or deaths increase, we may have to re-implement these restrictions, which would hurt both our culture and our economy.”

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